Blurring the line (channeling Neo): Virtual relationships

This is fascinating: www.psfk.com/2010/09/japanese-men-enjoying-their-holidays-with-virtual-girlfriends.html

Japanese Men Enjoying Their Resort Holidays With Virtual Girlfriends

Yes, you read that correctly: There’s a hotel in Japan catering to men and not real women.

“Japan’s resort town of Atami held an interesting yet unusual promotional campaign last month to draw in tourists-customized packages for Japanese men who come with their virtual girlfriends.

These girlfriends are videogame characters from the hit dating-simulation game LovePlus+ and cater to men who are lonely and miss having a girl by their side. Users carry their girlfriends in a game device that recreates the actual experience of a romance and relationship.”

Increasingly people seem to be blurring the line between the virtual and “real”. My pet theory on this one is that people don’t have the patience – or bandwidth – to put effort into developing real relationships (nasty, time consuming, and impossible to control things that they are). How much more perfect than having a girlfriend (or boyfriend, or self created alien!) who does whatever you want?

And how will this trend impact on the real world? Are people going to keep retreating into their own, self created (and totally controlled) worlds at the expense of “real”? It reminds me of Solaris, that planet created by Asimov where contact between humans is distasteful and (life like – we’re getting there) robots serve every whim.

…and if you’re curious, Asimov’s Robot/Foundation Series are well worth reading – particularly, in my opinion, The Caves of Steel  and The Naked Sun.

Developing the Grand Unified Theory

I muse on the intersection of three subjects constantly:

  • Technology: I’m fascinated by how we use it, interact with each other using it, and how it’s changing us.
  • Culture: That amorphous, nebulous, indescribable water we swim in.
  • Psychology: Fascinating. How our brains develop and work. Nature vs nurture. Universal stuff inherent to being mammalian animals. Interpreted locally by culture.

In this blog I’m going to muse and opine on the strategic direction of technology, and where I think it’s going – based on the key input from the other two subjects (and any others that take my fancy). Crystal ball read. Touch the future.

I’ve been working in technology-related industries for 18 years or so now, consulting to a variety of companies on how emerging technologies are impacting on their markets – and helping them figure out what to do to stay competitive. It’s a cool space.